Released today. This is a very nice compact film camera with a very solid feel – at a price, however. Something for Christmas perhaps?
This picture was taken last Saturday during our annual “beer party” in the area we live in. It is again organised by the residents themselves (mostly men over 60) and great fun, although we always feel a little out of place in terms of age. Still, some families are there with kids and people are generally very curious when we show up and strike up a conversation.
Since it is close to home and I am in the middle of enjoying the field camera, I decided to take it and try out flash. What a bulky outfit to carry! The missus does not look pleased. The Metz CT-4 hammerhead is huge, and the battery pack must add another 2kg. Stuffed into the backpack and wires leading out to the rig, I looked like doing a wielding job or similar. It is madness. But a rewarding one. Upon arrival II regretted my choice, but soon got into the swing. I only took one pack of 10 sheets of Fuji FP-3000B45 by mistake so I had to be economical. First shot wasted due to incorrect infinity setting of the front standard because I had fixed a bellows pinhole the night before. Then the taiko drum shot — mmmh, this is not looking too bad, I thought. Older men start approaching: “Is this a Linhof?”. Kids come and look at what the heck I am doing. Families who know us look interested and I offer to take their photo. They turn out wonderfully although people seem surprised about the lack of colour. Anyone can do compact digital, me thinks, but I can deliver decently sized prints right here, just mind the poisonous chemicals, kids. Too bad that I cannot keep a copy for myself. I shoot the Hawaiians and the beer guys, the slow sync works better and better. Shutter speed is now at half a second or even a second, and the camera is surprisingly steady as you can see.
This should end my practice with the setup using instant film. The immediate results were extremely helpful sussing this thing out and I must have burned through 5-6 packs at around 4000 yen each. This is clearly not a cheap undertaking, but I will skip proper lunch for the next 3 weeks to make up for it. Time to move to sheet film proper and get serious.
We just learned of a price hike from 1 Sep 06 for Fuji reversal films (not sure about all films, but certainly all Velvia & Provia) today. The increase is estimated at 10% on current prices. As always our prices will be adjusted accordingly.
This is bad news for everyone enjoying the great Fuji Neopan films by “rolling your own”, i.e. buying in 30.5m/100ft rolls. We are disappointed to inform you that Fujifilm has announced that they will drop Neopan 100 Acros 30.5m/100ft rolls, Neopan 400 Presto 30.5m/100ft rolls, Neopan 1600 Super Presto 30.5m/100ft rolls and Neopan SS 30.5m/100ft rolls from their product line in March 2007. We expect a lot of stock-up purchasing before that, leading to fears that the pipeline will run dry long before that and will do our best to counter it. We recommend that you stock up well in advance.
Note that this does not affect the Neopan film supplied ready in cartridges. Neopan will not disappear – for now (?).
Rembrant V fibre based papers are also affected.
As you may have noticed, we have already started inserting the new prices for the products affected by the price rise. The current prices have been inserted into the shop as special offers with an expiry of 31 Jan 2006. At the moment these are estimates and will be updated as soon has the prices become known in detail.
We have built up a reserve of the most popular products to help maintain the current price levels just a little while longer, but you should not rely on availability at the current price beyond January. Naturally, all orders placed this month will be at the current price; after that it is subject to stock, so consider this as the final call.
Looks like the film world is a little nervous right now. First this from Fuji as a response to Minolta exiting the photo business and now the honourable people from Zeiss speak their minds. So what to make of all that?
I try not to panic and do what I always do, trying to take pictures in one way or the other. I don’t think there will be a complete demise of film in my lifetime. Less choice perhaps, but with Fuji appearing as the last major still standing, Japan is probably a good place to be. Otherwise someone somewhere will make them. I doubt there is much support for black and white, even in domestic market the photo-crazy Japan. Yesterday I saw an exhibition of yet another photo club populated by men over 60 in a department store, and as usual not a single black and white photo in the selection.
Good news is that Rodinal will survive, too.
Meanwhile, for those shopping for a Zeiss Ikon or related lenses, here is the best price I have found so far. You have to be in Japan for this of course, and know your way around Ueno.
Fuji Acros, rated EI 50 in my new Jobo sheet film drum, 18min in Rodinal
One of the reasons I love large format photography more and more. Hard work, but when it all works out it can really take your breath away. First time I used Rodinal on Acros from my usual Xtol. It seems to work very well. I must try again. I have also finally bought a motor base for the drum which should arrive soon, so there is no longer a need to rotate the drum myself for almost 20 minutes.
Posting is getting a little sparse here, I know. But in a way there is so much and so little to say at the moment. I am still working on photo matters, but time seems scarce right now and priorities prevail.
Future plans include a business trip to London next week and acquiring an iBook once the new models are out (any day now), so I can write on the train. I have changed commuting route last week, so I have a seat every morning and don’t need to change trains. This gives me an extra hour to answer email, maintain the shop etc. Talking of the web shop, it is very quiet in July, after a record month in June. I suppose people purchased for their holidays and now they are gone.
Enjoy the summer everybody!